A new publication from our member Buğra Güngör named “Foreign aid during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from Turkey” has been published by the journal Southeast European and Black Sea Studies.
In his article, Güngör underlines that Turkey supplied medical aid to more than 70 countries during the first months of the pandemic. In his investigation on the dynamics of foreign aid, Güngör argues that historical ties, imports from the country, the state of the health system and Turkic identity were critical in Turkey’s aid decisions. Moreover, his article also concludes that there is no statistically significant relationship between foreign aid Islamic affinity.
The article is open access and can be accessed from this link.
The PSA 2021 Annual Conference is starting on Monday, in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and SAGE Publishing. This years theme “Resilience, Expertise and Hope” focuses on our ability to “adapt and respond in the wake of fundamental disruption” and aims to create a better understanding of issues like the global economy, global ecosystems and the climate, public health, international security.
As the Turkish Politics Specialist Group we have organised multiple panels that dominantly focus on foreign policy, power-society relations, and the electoral dynamics of Turkey.
Here is the whole list of our panels:
MONday 29th March 09:30-11:00
Panel 120: The Changing Dynamics of Power and Society in Turkey Today
Chair: Matthew Whiting (University of Reading)
9:30 am – 9:45 am
Understanding the Moral Economy of State-Civil Society Relationships: Islam, Women’s NGOs and Rights-Based Advocacy in Turkey
Dr. Nazlı Kazanoğlu (Koç University) and Dr. Markus Ketola (Edinburgh University)
9:45 am – 10:00 am
Grassroots Familialism? Conservative Civil Society Organizations and the Politics of Family in Turkey Under AKP Rule
Dr. Sevgi Adak (Aga Khan University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations)
10:00 am – 10:15 am
Rescaling and Bordering: Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Turkey’s Kurdish Regions
Dr. Imren Borsuk Eroglu (EUME-EUROPE IN THE MIDDLE EAST-MIDDLE EAST IN EUROPE) and Mr. Diren Tas (Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich)
10:15 am – 10:30 am
Biopolitics of Security and National Security Vetting Practices in Turkey
Dr. Seckin Sertdemir Ozdemir (University of Turku)
10:30 am – 10:45 am
Refugee Evictions and the Spread of Refugee-Native Clashes: Evidence from Turkey
Dr. Kerim Can Kavakli (Bocconi University)
Monday 29th March 11:15-12:45
Panel 220: Turkey’s Foreign Policy
Chair: Yaprak Gürsoy (Aston University)
11:15 am – 11:30 am
Explaining China’s Influence in Turkey
Dr. Eyüp Ersoy (Ahi Evran University)
11:30 am – 11:45 am
Emotions and Foreign Policy Change: An Alternative Affective Account of Turkey-KRG Relations
Dr. Asli Ilgıt (Cukurova University) and Dr. Özlem Pusane (Isik University)
11:45 am – 12:00am
From De-Europeanization to Anti-Westernism: Turkish Foreign Policy in Flux
Prof. Alper Kaliber (Altinbas University)
12:00 pm – 12:15 pm
Leftist Migrant Workers and Political Activism: Turkish Workers’ Associations in Germany
Ms. Irem Yildirim (McGill University)
Monday 29th March 13:00-14:45
Panel 320: Populist Rule and Opposition in Turkey: Mobilization, Policies and Strategies
Chair: Ms. Tuğçe Erçetin (İstanbul Bilgi University) and Ms. Begüm Zorlu (City, University of London)
1:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Understanding the “we-ness” in Populism: From Leaders to Voters”
Ms. Tuğçe Erçetin (İstanbul Bilgi University)
1:15 pm – 1:30pm
The New Populism in Turkey: The Marriage of Islamism and Nationalism under AKP Rule
Dr. Çağlar Ezikoğlu(Çankırı Karatekin University)
1:30 pm – 1:45 pm
Populist Alliances: The Increasing Convergence of the Governments of Turkey and Venezuela
Ms. Begüm Zorlu (City, University of London)
1:45 pm – 2:00pm
Anti-Populism in Turkey: Its Roots and Current Embodiments
Dr. Toygar Sinan Baykan (Kırklareli University)
2:00 pm – 2:15 pm
Defeating Populists: The Case of 2019 Elections
Dr. Seda Demiralp (Isik University) and Dr. Evren Balta (Özyeğin University)
Monday 29th March 15:45-17:15
Panel 420: Turning COVID-19 into a Political Opportunity: Policy and Propaganda in Turkey
Chair: Prof. Rabia Karakaya Polat (Isik University)
3:45 pm – 4:00 pm
Foreign aid during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from Turkey
Mr. Bugra Güngör(Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies)
4:00 pm – 4:15 pm
The AKP’s Anti-Westernism in Turkey’s Covid-19 Response
Dr. Çağlar Ezikoğlu(Çankırı Karatekin University)
4:15 pm – 4:30 pm
The Media Representation of Coronavirus as a Tool of Discredit and Praise: The Cases of Sözcü and Sabah
Dr. Begüm Burak (French Institute of Anatolian Studies)
4:30 pm – 4:45 pm
Responding to the Covid-19 Pandemic: Turkey’s Public Bank Actions and Crisis Management
Dr. Ali Riza Gungen (York University)
4:45 pm– 5:00 pm
Repercussions of the Covid-19 on Turkish Politics
Dr. Jülide Karakoç (Altınbaş University) Dr. Duygu Ersoy (Altınbaş University), Dr. Tuba Turan(University of Essex)
Tuesday 30th March 11:15-12:45
Panel 620: Elections and Turkey’s Political Regime
Chairs: Dr. Natalie Martin (University of Nottingham) and Ms. Zeynep Özge Iğdır (Sabancı University)
11:15 am – 11:30am
Centre-Periphery Clash within the Context of Turkish Modernization: Sociological Phenomenon or Institutional Change
Mr. Fırat Efe (University of Wroclaw)
11:30 am – 11:45 am
Measuring Political Polarization in Turkey: Religion, Identity, and Space
Dr. Fırat Gündem (Dokuz Eylül University)
11:45 am – 12:00 pm
Politics of Electoral Reform in Turkey: Actors, Motivations, Success and Failure
Ms. Zeynep Özge Iğdır (Sabancı University)
12:00 pm – 12:15 pm
Twitter Usage and Electoral Success: The Case of 2019 Turkish Local Elections
Dr. Ugur Ozdemir (University of Edinburgh) and Mr. Berke Çaplı(University of Edinburgh)
12:15 pm – 12:30 pm
The securitisation of news in Turkey: Journalism as political opposition
Our member Begüm Burak has launched a Youtube channel on Ottoman-Turkish History through which she presents literature review and academic comments on Ottoman-Turkish History. She has commented to us that with this channel she aims to reach to young scholars studying Turkish politics in particular.
About Begüm Burak
Begüm Burak is an Istanbul-based independent researcher. In 2015, Ms. Burak got her PhD degree. The main areas of her academic interest include Turkish Politics, Civil-Military Relations in Turkey, Secularism Discussions in Turkey, Discourse Analysis Methodology, Media-Politics Relations and Political Culture.
Between 2010 and 2015, during her occupation as a research assistant, she got engaged in short-term academic activities in Italy, United Kingdom, Bosnia and Spain. In 2018, she became one of the founding members of http://ilkmade.com. She currently writes in her own blog in English and for some web sites besides writing columns regularly for two Turkish websites.
You can follow Begüm on Twitter and see some of her academic work on Academia.
The German Politics, Greek Politics, French Politics, Italian Politics, Nordic Politics and Turkish Politics Specialist Groups of the PSA invite paper proposals for joint panels which seek to explore the first reactions to the economic and political challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic by governments across Europe. Papers discussing the EU response and implications for EU member states are also of interest to this call. We welcome single case studies, comparative papers, and theoretical explorations. The joint panels have the objective of bringing together different perspectives and to create a dialogue between the involved Specialist Groups.
The Covid-19 pandemic found Europe still recovering from a decade of crisis including the Eurozone crisis, the migration crisis and Brexit. Governments across Europe reacted in different ways to the pandemic, but they were all challenged on multiple fronts: public health and health systems, the lockdown of economic, social and cultural life, new on-line working patterns and on-line education, restriction of civil liberties, and closure of borders are just a few examples. This call is looking for papers discussing policies across Europe in response to the Covid-19 emergency and their implementation. What lessons can be learned about crisis management from the different national responses? What has been the role of experts and of evidence informed policymaking? How has the political landscape of different countries been affected by the new crisis? What future avenues for research has this universal crisis opened-up for political science?
Please address all enquiries and e-mail your paper proposal (paper title, 200-word max abstract, institutional affiliation and full contact details) to our Panel Convenors, Matthew Whiting (M.Whiting.firstname.lastname@example.org) and Yaprak Gürsoy (email@example.com). until 28 September 2020.
We specifically encourage doctoral students and early career researchers to contribute to the joint panel.
Applicants will be notified whether they have been included in the joint panel proposals ahead of the final PSA deadline.
Full details of the conference can be found on the PSA website here
The PSA’s Annual International Conference 2021 will be held in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast, (School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Politics) and Visit Belfast.
The 2021 PSA Annual International Conference is planned as a hybrid conference which blends the digital world and physical world together to produce the opportunities and interactions of a physical conference, with the added accessibility of an online conference.
Once again this year the Turkish Politics Specialist Group will be organising four panels for the conference. If you would like to be considered for inclusion on one of these panels, please send a 200-word abstract to Matthew Whiting (M.Whiting.firstname.lastname@example.org) and Yaprak Gürsoy (email@example.com).
Deadline for paper proposals: Tuesday, 28 September 2020
Full details of the conference can be found on the PSA website here
Yaprak Gürsoy has written a timely article to the PSA Blog on Turkey’s Covid19 response.
In her article she investigates Turkey’s record in fighting against COVID-19 and traces the political developments since the beginning of the outbreak.
We are republishing her article in our blog.
A MIXED RECORD FOR TURKEY’S POLITICSDURING COVID-19
1 July 2020
COVID-19 BLOG SERIES: HOW EUROPE HAS RESPONDED TO THE CRISIS
It is undeniable that we are undergoing unprecedented global change with the COVID-19 pandemic and these will have unpredictable political consequences for years to come. What will the winds of change bring to Turkey and to its personalistic regime?
There are two ways to answer this question. One way is to look at Turkey’s record in fighting against COVID-19 and the other is tracing political developments since the beginning of the outbreak. In both counts, Turkey appears to be quite stable. But looks can be deceiving. High tides under water have been kept at bay so far, however, 18 years of rule by the AKP has cultivated its simmering opposition that will only grow in time.
Measures against COVID-19
Turkey has had a total of just over 186,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 22nd June, making it the 11th most affected country in the world. Despite the high number of confirmed cases, its death rate remains significantly lower than other European countries, including countries like France and Belgium that appear to have fewer cases. Comparing the absolute number of confirmed cases across different countries is fraught with difficulties and all caveats around these figures need be kept in mind. Still# the relative success of Turkey begs clarification.
There is no simple explanation for lower death rates. There are still many unknowns about the nature of the virus that might explain Turkey’s statistics from a medical perspective. Certainly, Turkey’s demographics are in its favour – only eight percent of its population is over the age of 65 and most do not stay in care homes. Compare this to the EU average of 20% elderly population, or even higher in badly affected Italy, or consider the fact that in April alone official COVID-19 deaths in care homes in the UK were nearly twice as much as overall deaths in Turkey.
What of more short-term factors that were within the control of political leaders, notably when and to what extent to go into lockdown? Turkey’s approach to lockdown lies somewhere in the middle of a ‘restrictive-liberal’ continuum. It shut down schools and imposed a full curfew on the elderly and on children. It has also introduced a full lockdown on weekends and holidays. But if you were a Turkish citizen between the age of 20 and 65 or if you were working, it has been more or less business as usual, at least during the weekdays. Given this mixed approach that prioritised the economy, it is probably unlikely that curfew measures were what made the difference in death rates in Turkey.
Rather than lockdown, it would seem that Turkey’s success might be more to do with its healthcare system that was relatively well-placed to deal with the crisis. The number of Intensive Care Unit beds in Turkey is four times more than Italy and nearly eight times more than the UK. This is, in part, down to the policies of the government in the past years. Some of these earlier policies, such as building city hospitals, have been controversial because they rest on neoliberal principles and reflect the extent of crony capitalism in Turkey. But in the combat against coronavirus, they have provided the capacity to admit suspected patients immediately, even before test results, and start aggressive treatment, even with the controversial drug of hydroxychloroquine. Also contact-tracing was introduced very quickly that tests patients within a day and notifies and monitors those with whom suspected cases have been in touch.
No matter where the real reason for Turkey’s low death rates lies, the government has been able to capitalise on the pandemic, increase its prestige abroad through supplying medical aid and tout the comparatively low death rates as a success. Although this trend can be reversed with the easing of lockdown measures and a new spike in cases, Ankara has managed to hold firm against the winds of change thanks to its seeming success in containing the virus so far.
Recent Political Developments
One of the major political consequences of the outbreak globally has been the way personal liberties had to be curtailed. The pandemic has led to illiberal policies everywhere with more than 80 countries declaring a state of emergency. Leaders are taking the opportunity to grab more power even in well-established democracies and it is unclear whether and when liberties will be returned to people.
Turkey has not been an exception to this global drift. Some of the political decisions that were made during the pandemic reflect earlier trends, mixed with new opportunities. For instance, around 90,000 convicts were granted an amnesty to prevent the spread of the virus in jails but political prisoners were exempted from the pardon. Opposition local governments in Istanbul and Ankara were forbidden from accepting donations from citizens to raise funds and distribute supplies to those who were in need. Five elected heads of local districts from the main Kurdish political party (HDP) were removed from office and the impunity of lawmakers were lifted paving the way for the prosecution of HDP MPs.
Centralising power by the ruling AKP and efforts to side-line political opposition are not new in Turkey. Although they might have been accelerated with the outbreak, they have also produced renewed opposition and initiatives, bringing in the potential of change amid seeming stability. For instance, there has been a cabinet crisis over the way curfew was initially introduced, which points at possible future fissures within the AKP government. There also seems to be an increase in the popularity of recently founded AKP-splinter parties. A recent poll also revealed that public trust toward Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş surpassed that of President Erdoğan. Finally, the HDP started a new campaign and has held rallies, despite government-imposed restrictions and COVID-19 related constraints.
Turkey has had a mixed record during the pandemic. If the death rates continue as they are, it is a positive case that needs to be acknowledged. However, this accomplishment should not distract from the general political trends of the recent years. For now, the pandemic seems to have brought more political stability than prospects for change. It is difficult to predict what will happen in a couple of years but, as in the anti-racism protests elsewhere, in Turkey too, the pandemic has brought its own dynamics of unforeseen transformation.
The BIAA (British Institute at Ankara) in conjunction with I.B.Tauris has posted a publishing opportunity on modern Turkey. The Contemporary Turkey series is focusing on the history, economics, and politics of modern Turkey and is seeking to provide “new data and insights from the field.”
Encourage a forward-thinking and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of modern Turkey.
Ceren Lord, Katerina Dalacoura, Pinar Bedirhanoglu, Sevgi Adak are the editors of the series. For more information, or to submit a proposal for consideration, Ceren Lord can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org
In her article published in the Journal of Contemporary Asia, Gürsoy provides a contribution to understanding and categorising the populism of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey by debating the typologies in the literature and calling for a comprehensive socio-cultural approach to explore populism.
The author examines the dominant typologies and regional variations in populism studies along with a literature review that explores AKP’s populism. The article highlights that there has been a “selective focus” that has shaped categorisation about the AKP and lists some of the key features that are used to explain AKP’s populism. She demonstrates how the case of the AKP constitutes a “specific ideological and strategic blend” (p.18), which is more similar to the cases of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) in India and the TRT (Thai Rak Thai) in Thailand than the Latin American and European examples of populism. She shows how the AKP’s populist discourse utilises “civilisational terms” and combines various strategies like “neo-liberalism, strong party organisation and grassroots mobilisation”.
The Turkish Politics Specialist Group is participating in an online roundtable entitled “Managing the Covid-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned and Avenues for Political Science Research”. The roundtable will take place on Friday the 29th of May at 15:00 – 16:30 GMT.
This timely meeting will focus on the management of the crisis in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Nordic countries and Turkey. Experts of each country will discuss what political scientists can learn from the coronavirus crisis and what are some immediate avenues for research. PhD students, academics and everyone interested in the comparative study of the Covid-19 Pandemic is invited to attend.
Given the continued Covid-19 outbreak, regretfully, we have decided to cancel the State of Democracy in Southern Europe conference, which was going to be held in June at Aston University.
The PSA has announced today that all face to face events until the end of the academic year should be cancelled and that the feasibility of Autumn and Winter events should be reconsidered in the summer.
Under these circumstances and given the continued Covid-19 outbreak, regretfully, we have decided to cancel the State of Democracy in Southern Europe conference, which was going to be held in June at Aston University.
We will reconsider holding the conference sometime in the future when it is safe to do so, but we realise that this may be as late as the end of 2021.
We hope that this decision will not have a major impact on your academic plans.
Thank you very much once again for submitting your abstract and your interest in the conference.